• Oliver Mellors, On The Mellors Elliot Motorsports Iriz R5

    Published: Wednesday, 7 February 2018
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    Mellors Elliot Motorsport (MEM) driver Oliver Mellors has rallying in his blood. His father, Chris Mellors was a three-time British national rally champion, and the 22-year-old has been involved with rallying all his life.

    “I have been driving rally cars from the moment I could touch the pedals,” Mellors said in an interview with French magazine Le Mag Sport Auto. The junior Mellors started his time in competitive driving with rallycross before moving into rallying once he obtained his UK driving licence.

    The motorsport outfit bearing his family name chose the Proton Iriz as a starting point as the firm has worked with Proton for many years, snagging the PWRC (Production World Rally Championship) title – now known as the FIA World Rally Championship-3 – in 2002. At the time, MEM was responsible for preparing the championship-winning Proton PERT Evo VI for the Petronas Eon Racing Team (PERT), with Karamjit ‘Flying Sikh’ Singh taking home the drivers’ championship that year.

    This was followed by the Proton S2000 rally car build, and then winning the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship in 2011. When the time came to build an R5 contender, staying with Proton was logical, Mellors said.

    “The car actually has a very good base with all the right features, being a very short car but at the same time having a long wheelbase means it does exactly as you want it to. A lot of the current R5 cars appear to have a lot of oversteer, and with little to no overhang on the Proton, you don’t get this effect,” he adds.

    The ingredients add up to some convincing results, as the Mellors Elliot Motorsport-prepared Iriz R5 has scored three podium finishes from three races contested. The success rate is every racing team’s dream, and with the car feeling effortless to drive it encourages the driver to go faster, Mellors continued. A rallycross campaign has crossed Mellors’ mind as well, though the outfit has no plans unless another party approaches them.

    Back to the Iriz R5 campaign, the team hasn’t yet set a firm roster for a future driver line-up as the homologation process will be completed in the next few months, Mellors said. The firm has received a lot of interest in the car, and a great deal of the appeal comes from the Iriz R5 being optionally available in right-hand-drive.

    Mellors Elliot Motorsports had the opportunity to have former rally driver Marcus Grönholm behind the wheel of the Iriz R5 for a test session last November, and the feedback from the Finn was positive.

    Grönholm was surprised to discover how good the car was at this early stage of its development, though there are no current arrangements in place for him to officially compete for MEM. Although, “I think we would all love to see him competing again especially in the Proton Iriz R5,” Mellors said. - Paultan

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